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Del Webb Silver Sluggers battle firefighters
Del Webb Silver Sluggers Donni Rosi and Bill Barnhart work the outfield during Fridays game against the Manteca firefighters that took place at the Del Webb at Woodbridge softball field. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Bob Hall took his seat on the bench to take a breather.

Down six runs to the Manteca firefighters, Hall and his Del Webb Silver Sluggers weren’t about to give up without a fight.

Even though he had never picked up a softball bat in his life prior to moving to the senior community three years ago, Hall – who said he’s trying as many sports as he can to stay active – didn’t waste any time in picking up his glove and hitting the field when the inning switched.

“This is really my first go at it, but it’s a lot of fun,” Hall said. “We love having the police and firefighters out here playing with us. I run the Neighborhood Watch here, so I get to work with them when they come in for emergencies.

“This is a different chance to have a good time with them.”

The doubleheader, which showcased the Silver Sluggers in the first game and the Wolverines – Del Webb’s competition softball squad – in the second, drew a sizable crowd of residents that came out to support their friends and neighbors.

In the eyes of announcer Reno Cortesi, games like the ones played on Friday morning were a chance to build camaraderie with the local firefighters and have a good time out on the diamond together.

“It’s fantastic to see something like this come together,” he said. “We’ve had the police out here playing and we have intra-squad games where these teams play each other.

“But events like this are a little bit different because you get to see the firefighters out of uniform and having fun.”

And it was all about having a good time.

Manteca Fire Department Captain Franco Torrice drew a round of applause and more than a few laughs when he called timeout and walked out to the pitchers circle to talk to Firefighter/Engineer Steve Burrows.

Burrows played along with the gag by putting his gloved hand on his hip and throwing the ball onto the ground – adding to the comic relief of the situation and proving that the morning’s events were all about fun.

The games themselves were just the byproduct of a conversation between Woodbridge Senior Softball Club President Rudy Salvador and Torrice that took place when the firefighters were out responding to a call.

According to Salvador, both Woodbridge teams and the firefighters had only one focus when it came to bringing the day to fruition – making sure that nobody gets hurt.

“We’re all out here to have a good time and I think you can see that the guys are doing just that,” said Salvador – who had to catch for the firefighters in the first game because they didn’t have enough players. “This game has always been a passion of mine and I’ll keep playing it as long as I’m able.

“I think that you see that with a lot of the guys out here. We’re just out here to have fun and live out the rest of our lives.”